I flew back to Dubai on Emirates flight EK 202 on July 5th, which departed JFK at 11:30pm and arrived in Dubai 20 minutes early at 8:00pm on July 6th. The flight went quite well except for two problems:
- The WiFi network onboard which connects to the Tenzing e-mail service was not working and no one onboard knew why. I didn’t try the Ethernet jack in the seat because I forgot to put the cable in my hand bag and there wasn’t a spare one available onboard.
- My laptop (Apple 17″ PowerBook) fell off the seat next to me while I was in the bathroom onto it’s side. The laptop is still working, but unfortunately it fell with the power adapter connected so the lower part of the case is pretty badly warped and now it won’t stay closed. This is a major bummer.
I think I slept for two hours on this flight. The departure from JFK was quite simple. I called before going to the airport to find out what time I needed to check in. I was told that I could check-in as a business class passenger (yes, I’m a sucker and used up another 65k miles to upgrade on the return journey) as late as 40 minutes before departure. I showed up at JFK Terminal 4 about 60 minutes before departure at 10:30pm, and there was no line to check in. Got my boarding pass, went into the departure area, bought some Krispy Kreme doughnuts, and relaxed for a while in the Aer Lingus lounge. There didn’t appear to be any extra security measures and I was through pretty quickly. There aren’t many other flights leaving that late from JFK so there were no lines anywhere.
The boarding process was not handled very professionally by the Emirates ground staff. They appeared to be young and inexperienced, and it didn’t help that there was a broad mix of nationalities among the passengers who all had their own ideas about the correct process to board the flight. It’s amusing to watch 200 people all try to board a flight at once!
This flight was not completely full, probably about 75% capacity. There were 10 open business class seats out of 42. It was a little bumpy most of the way across the Atlantic, but it smoothed out when we high Europe. The meals served in business class were pretty good, but I was disappointed with the selection of snacks that are kept in the galleys in-between meals. All they had were some pastries and sandwiches; no fruits/cand/chips were available. BA keeps a nice set of treats available in their Club World galley during the SFO-LHR flights.
Arrival into Dubai was actually as smooth as it could have been. We got off the plane pretty quickly, immigration took only 30 seconds as I use the eGate service at Dubai Airport, and the bags just started to arrive as I reached the baggage claim area. Bags from a flight from Kuwait were on the same belt, but it didn’t bother me too much. I got home 60 minutes after landing, which includes the 30 minute drive home.
On this journey, I earned 6834 tier miles (actual flown mileage) each way, but with the online booking bonus for an economy class ticket and the 25% bonus for being a Skywards Silver member, the total earnings for the return journey was 27,338 regular miles (bonus don’t count as tier miles). Unfortunately, I used up 130,000 miles on the upgrade to business class both ways. That’s a little steep and I hope they reduce that at some point. I’m 8,900 tier miles away from earning gold status, which I hope to achieve by the end of the summer with a few more trips to Bombay.